SAN JOSE, Calif. – The AMD-led HSA Foundation has described its uniform memory access technology as it prepares to release the first generation of the specification. AMD said it will support the spec in a processor called Kaveri it will ship before the end of the year.
The Heterogeneous Systems Architecture group is defining specs for SoCs that mix CPUs, GPUs and potentially other cores. One of its main goals is defining a shared memory space for chip designers and software developers.
HSA’s uniform memory access lets graphics cores share the same address space as CPU cores with bi-directional coherent access. It gives GPUs full access to both physical and virtual memory.
AMD claims the approach has many advantages including simplifying work for apps programmers by eliminating the need for some APIs. It also suggested the techniques could boost performance and power efficiency.
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The HSA spec defines a way to let GPU and CPU cores share physical and virtual memory.
The obvious win here is in providing a more usable programming model for CPU/GPU utilization. But It's also worth pointing out that purely CPU applications will benefit, since AMD is basically adding a new, higher-bandwidth memory system that's not specific to the GPU. Yes, your Excel will be able to update quicker...
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